Remembering “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler

Story posted March 17, 2021 in CommRadio, Sports by Matthew McLaughlin

“If they cut my bald head, they will find one big boxing glove.”

No quote best describes the man, the myth and legend that was Marvelous Marvin Hagler, the legendary middleweight champion who passed away on Saturday, March 13 at the age of 66.

Before Mike Tyson elevated the heavyweight division into a completely different atmosphere in 1986, Hagler became the face of the middleweight division with a similar killer instinct and aggression reminiscent of a tiger hunting its prey in a Planet Earth documentary.

Over the course of his career, the Newark native posted a 62-3-2 record and won 52 of those by knockout in the process of hoisting multiple championship belts over his illustrious career, yet was never truly recognized for his success in the ring.

This is the same guy who took up boxing to beat up a local boxer that was bullying him. This is the same guy who changed his first name to Marvelous. (No, seriously). This is the same guy that reigned as middleweight champion for seven years, from 1980 to 1987.

In fact, his reign as unified middleweight champion is the second-longest reign of the last century behind Tony Zale. Zale’s reign? Seven years but that reign included his service in the second World War! In Hagler’s case, Hagler successfully defended his title 12 times with no absences or leaves, which is absolutely incredible.

To put that in perspective, Muhammad Ali, who is known simply as “The Greatest,” reached a peak of 10 consecutive successful title career defenses. Simply put, Hagler was the bridge superstar of boxing between Ali and Tyson in the world of boxing and still does not get the credit he deserved.

Moreover, Marvelous Marvin’s legacy molded a new generation of fighters. His 1980 title bout with Tommy Hearns, known simply as “The War,” stands as one of the greatest two rounds of boxing ever performed.

Hagler could go toe-to-toe with any fighter, Tyson included, and can throw haymakers with some of the best power fighters on the planet while also possessing incredible foot speed and quickness that allowed him to dictate the pace in most of his fights.

Post boxing, Hagler moved to Italy and became a movie star in action films (cannot make this up), which was relatively groundbreaking considering the time. By 2021, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson sits as the go-to former athlete turned actor, but Hagler was doing this two decades earlier.

In an era of iconic fighters like “Sugar” Ray Leonard, “Iron” Mike Tyson and Evander “Real Deal” Holyfield elevating the already-strong heavyweight division, Hagler cut through with his signature suave, charisma and aggression that truly made him one of a kind and put the middleweight division on the same level as the heavyweight.

Marvin Hagler’s life and legacy have impacted fans and aspiring combat athletes for decades and the ensuing decades will be no different. Hagler was one of a kind.

He will forever be truly marvelous.


Matthew McLaughlin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email